Seal pup recovering at rescue center on Long Island

If seals could speak, one pup on Long Island would have quite a story to share.  

The young seal was spotted in the middle of what's normally a busy traffic circle in Southampton early Sunday morning before a passerby called 911. Lt. Susan Ralph will never forget that call.

"He's very, very lucky that he didn't get hit," Ralph said. "When we heard the call, we said this cannot be true but in fact it was."

Officers with the Southampton Town Police Department called the New York Marine Rescue Center. And after speaking to witnesses, police determined the seal did some sightseeing before he was spotted at the traffic circle. 

"He stopped at the gas station for some snacks, then to a beverage center, then we wound up corralling him into a local motel parking lot," Ralph said. 

Turns out the wayward traveler, who is about 3 or so months old, was likely foraging on river herring in the Peconic River before taking a few wrong turns. 

New York Marine Rescue Center's Maxine Montello, the rescue program director, said it is not uncommon for the seals to get out of their habitat. Aside from a few wounds from quite the adventure, the seal is overall doing well, she said.

"Sometimes they give us a run for our money, we get them under people's vehicles, they cross the street, looking for the next water source," Montello said. "Our vet checked him out this morning. We're waiting for one final panel to look at the internal infection — his white and red blood cell counts." 

Staff biologists hope to release him within the week. 

It's important to know that despite how cute seals are, they are federally protected marine mammals and people need to stay away. 

"Keeping your distance, calling our hotline," Montello said. "They'll be here until end of May," she said. 

For now, the seal is hamming it up at the rescue center. Biologists plan to tag his flipper for future identification in the event he strands again.

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Credit: Southampton Town Police Department via Facebook